'It's fairly black and white' - Meath manager Andy McEntee on possible Diarmuid Connolly ban
Whether Meath or Kildare reach the Leinster final, they can expect to face a Dublin team without Diarmuid Connolly. At least that is the expectation of Meath manager Andy McEntee.
The much feared/derided Central Competitions Control Committee will meet on Tuesday to contemplate a possible sanction for Connolly for laying his hand on linesman Ciaran Branagan last Saturday.
The rulebook is fairly blunt on the subject. What's called a "minor physical infraction" against an official is punishable by a 12-week ban at the minimum.
Opinion is somewhat mixed with many insisting the law must be upheld and others - not all of them Dubs - suggesting that the offence was puny and should not warrant a 12-week ban.
As we know, there is a tendency within the GAA to regard the rulebook as a bit of a buzzkill which is best ignored.
Rather unfortunately for Connolly and Dublin, only five days earlier, Tipperary goalkeeper and 2016 All-Star nominee Evan Comerford was hit with a 12-week ban for a "minor physical infraction" against referee Paddy Russell in a club game.
Any other outcome from the Connolly hearing tomorrow will likely provoke an outcry from supporters of Dublin's rivals.
Following their win over Louth yesterday, Meath will meet Kildare in that rarest of jewels, an interesting Leinster football championship match.
If they triumph, they are borderline certain of meeting Dublin in the provincial decider, a match for which Diarmuid Connolly may be suspended.
Speaking on the Throw-In podcast, Meath manager Andy McEntee, while admitting to a few verbal scrapes with officials in the past, sides with the school of thought which says officials must be protected.
"The truth of the matter is I understand where the authorities of any sport are coming from when they insist on protecting linesmen and officials or referees.
"We know what happened [Kieran] McGeeney in the past, we know what happened the Tipperary goalkeeper (Evan Comerford). It looks fairly black and white. It's nothing personal. But I suppose when you lay your hand on an official you can expect the full force of the law. And I would imagine the GAA would probably have their hands tied on this one."
Meath conceded three goals against Louth yesterday, scored none, but still cantered to a nine-point win, racking up a big score.
McEntee, who first applied for the Meath senior job a decade ago, spoke about how producing a panel of "physcially capable" players was central to his vision.
After a slow-ish start to the League, Meath appeared to have found their feet under their new boss.
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